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An increasing number of children, adolescents and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or autism are being admitted to general psychiatric wards and cared for by general psychiatrists.
The aim of this systematic review was to consider the likely effectiveness of in-patient treatment for this population, and compare and contrast differing models of in-patient care.
A systematic search was completed to identify papers where authors had reported data about the effectiveness of in-patient admissions with reference to one of three domains: treatment effect (e.g. length of stay, clinical outcome, readmission), patient safety (e.g. restrictive practices) and patient experience (e.g. patient or family satisfaction). Where possible, outcomes associated with admission were considered further within the context of differing models of in-patient care (e.g. specialist in-patient services versus general mental health in-patient services).
A total of 106 studies were included and there was evidence that improvements in mental health, social functioning, behaviour and forensic risk were associated with in-patient admission. There were two main models of in-patient psychiatric care described within the literature: admission to a specialist intellectual disability or general mental health in-patient service. Patients admitted to specialist intellectual disability in-patient services had greater complexity, but there were additional benefits, including fewer out-of-area discharges and lower seclusion rates.
There was evidence that admission to in-patient services was associated with improvements in mental health for this population. There was some evidence indicating better outcomes for those admitted to specialist services.
To examine the costs and cost-effectiveness of mirtazapine compared to placebo over 12-week follow-up.
Economic evaluation in a double-blind randomized controlled trial of mirtazapine vs. placebo.
Community settings and care homes in 26 UK centers.
People with probable or possible Alzheimer’s disease and agitation.
Primary outcome included incremental cost of participants’ health and social care per 6-point difference in CMAI score at 12 weeks. Secondary cost-utility analyses examined participants’ and unpaid carers’ gain in quality-adjusted life years (derived from EQ-5D-5L, DEMQOL-Proxy-U, and DEMQOL-U) from the health and social care and societal perspectives.
One hundred and two participants were allocated to each group; 81 mirtazapine and 90 placebo participants completed a 12-week assessment (87 and 95, respectively, completed a 6-week assessment). Mirtazapine and placebo groups did not differ on mean CMAI scores or health and social care costs over the study period, before or after adjustment for center and living arrangement (independent living/care home). On the primary outcome, neither mirtazapine nor placebo could be considered a cost-effective strategy with a high level of confidence. Groups did not differ in terms of participant self- or proxy-rated or carer self-rated quality of life scores, health and social care or societal costs, before or after adjustment.
On cost-effectiveness grounds, the use of mirtazapine cannot be recommended for agitated behaviors in people living with dementia. Effective and cost-effective medications for agitation in dementia remain to be identified in cases where non-pharmacological strategies for managing agitation have been unsuccessful.
Young people with social disability and severe and complex mental health problems have poor outcomes, frequently struggling with treatment access and engagement. Outcomes may be improved by enhancing care and providing targeted psychological or psychosocial intervention.
We aimed to test the hypothesis that adding social recovery therapy (SRT) to enhanced standard care (ESC) would improve social recovery compared with ESC alone.
A pragmatic, assessor-masked, randomised controlled trial (PRODIGY: ISRCTN47998710) was conducted in three UK centres. Participants (n = 270) were aged 16–25 years, with persistent social disability, defined as under 30 hours of structured activity per week, social impairment for at least 6 months and severe and complex mental health problems. Participants were randomised to ESC alone or SRT plus ESC. SRT was an individual psychosocial therapy delivered over 9 months. The primary outcome was time spent in structured activity 15 months post-randomisation.
We randomised 132 participants to SRT plus ESC and 138 to ESC alone. Mean weekly hours in structured activity at 15 months increased by 11.1 h for SRT plus ESC (mean 22.4, s.d. = 21.4) and 16.6 h for ESC alone (mean 27.7, s.d. = 26.5). There was no significant difference between arms; treatment effect was −4.44 (95% CI −10.19 to 1.31, P = 0.13). Missingness was consistently greater in the ESC alone arm.
We found no evidence for the superiority of SRT as an adjunct to ESC. Participants in both arms made large, clinically significant improvements on all outcomes. When providing comprehensive evidence-based standard care, there are no additional gains by providing specialised SRT. Optimising standard care to ensure targeted delivery of existing interventions may further improve outcomes.
There is a growing interest in using cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) with people who have Asperger syndrome and comorbid mental health problems.
To examine whether modified group CBT for clinically significant anxiety in an Asperger syndrome population is feasible and likely to be efficacious.
Using a randomised assessor-blind trial, 52 individuals with Asperger syndrome were randomised into a treatment arm or a waiting-list control arm. After 24 weeks, those in the waiting-list control arm received treatment, while those initially randomised to treatment were followed up for 24 weeks.
The conversion rate for this trial was high (1.6:1), while attrition was 13%. After 24 weeks, there was no significant difference between those randomised to the treatment arm compared with those randomised to the waiting-list control arm on the primary outcome measure, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety.
Trials of psychological therapies with this population are feasible. Larger definitive trials are now needed.
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